Adopting food production management software in your facility is exciting. Keeping track of food safety, quality, sales, inventory, and so much more is going to be far faster and smoother. More automation is going to revolutionize your business and lead to less headache for everyone.
Except, transitioning to new software isn’t always easy – this process has its share of challenges and if you’re not ready for them, they could really hurt your productivity for months or even years. Let’s explore some of the challenges you need to anticipate when adopting food production management software.
1) Organizational Change Doesn’t Happen Overnight
The biggest hurdle to any change in your business, as you surely have discovered the hard way, is getting your entire workforce onboard. Employee buy-in is difficult to acquire, but it’s essential to make transformations stick and be as efficient as possible – and the bigger the change, the bigger the challenge.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Does this software provide clear, engaging, human training with the purpose of helping employees buy in?
- How can I present the software change in a way that helps employees see the benefits, rather than just seeing the learning curve?
According to Didier Bonnet, coauthor of Leading Digital, “The job of a manager is to help people cross the bridge – to get them comfortable with the technology, to get them using it, and to help them understand how it makes their lives better.”
Critically analyze every software solution you consider from this perspective. If the software can streamline your business, that’s excellent, but if it’s difficult to use, it’s going to be hard to get your employees to adopt it, so you’ll have a hard time reaping all the potential benefits.
2) Software Implementation Takes Time
Adopting food production management software and incorporating it into your business and day-to-day operations take time and, in many cases, you’re looking at months of implementation. Connecting food safety and quality systems, supplier management, inventory control, traceability and all the other aspects of your business takes concentrated effort to accomplish correctly.
For this reason, you need to ask yourself these questions before pulling the trigger:
- How long do I have before I need the software fully implemented? For example, do I have a regulatory deadline coming up?
- Can I afford to adopt the software in stages, and what exactly are those stages?
- How long does it take to even get the adoption process started?
- How does this software prioritize rapid deployment?
Your particular timeline is going to be different than everyone else’s, so it’s important you compare each software solution to your needs and deadlines, rather than just going off what other people say.
To get the best idea of the timeline, you’re going to want to reach out to potential software partners and make sure you will have the full support you need to execute organizational change effectively and efficiently. That leads us to our next challenge…
3) You Need Great Customer Support
When you’re automating your systems and adopting food production management software, you face roadblocks and other problems from the basics (e.g. data entry) to the big picture (e.g. understanding how the software works). To help you get through it, you’re going to need customer support from time to time and probably a lot at the beginning. This means you’ll want to carefully analyze each potential software partner’s customer service process.
Here’s what to ask yourself while you’re reaching out for answers to your questions:
- Do I get free support or will I have to pay for every call?
- How long do I have to wait for a response?
- If I have to wait that long for a response during implementation, is it going to disrupt or hurt my business?
- Did the customer service contact really listen to my concerns?
- Do I get the sense that my interests will be cared for if I become a long-term customer?
- How urgently will this partner try to fix inevitable errors or glitches?
- What do other users say about that software and the company’s customer support?
Everyone wants to provide a great customer service experience, but not everyone actually does. Sometimes it’s a human resources struggle. Sometimes efficiency-boosting processes just aren’t in place. No matter the reason, you have to be the judge about what kind of service you think you’re going to need when it comes time to start implementing and using the software. The better the service, the quicker and smoother the adoption process will be.
This can be a lot to think about, and buying new software is usually a big commitment on multiple levels, but don’t let these challenges keep you from moving to a more efficient, productive business. The rewards are worth the due diligence.